Pakistani PM defends Iran gas pipeline in farewell speech

Pakistani PM defends Iran gas pipeline in farewell speech

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday defended Iran gas pipeline and said that the project will meet energy needs of the country, IRNA reports.

In his farewell address to the nation over Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television networks, he defended foreign policy of his government and said that relations were improved with India and Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan signed the multi-billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project to resolve the energy crisis. He said Pakistan faced with isolation but his government revived the credibility of Pakistan with aggressive policies.

He expressed the confidence late Saturday that the election process will be completed smoothly and amicably. The Prime Minister appealed to all political parties, national institutions, civil society and the media to play role in peaceful elections.

He said that the National and provincial assemblies' elections will be held on the same day. He said that all arrangements have been made for free, fair and transparent elections.

He said that new computerized voter lists have been prepared and there will be no chance of election fraud in the presence of political parties, independent election commission, judiciary, effective media and the active civil society.

The Prime Minister said that he is making efforts to reach an understanding with the opposition on the caretaker set-up.

The speech shows that the deadlock between the government and the main opposition party over the nomination of a caretaker prime minister still exists as Raja Pervez Ashraf did not say anything about the agreement on the issue.

The speech was mainly focused on the performance of Prime Minister's Pakistan Peoples Party and its allies.

"We have completed our constitutional term and will be going to the peoples' court," he said. He said completion of term by the government is an extraordinary and historic event, adding that the democratic process went through various difficulties, challenges and trials in its journey.

The Prime Minister said that constitutional transfer of power by an elected government is a victory of democratic forces, thanking all democratic forces and institutions that played their role in strengthening democracy.

Referring to the situation of the country in 2008 when the present government took over, he said the state was facing dreaded crisis and the country was almost isolated at the international level.

"Economy was in bad shape, there was energy crisis, foreign exchange reserves had depleted to dangerous levels, country was facing food shortages and its survival was threatened by terrorism".

"The government remained victim of negative propaganda and concocted allegations," he said.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that the government could not do enough during the last five years. "However, it lessened the problems it inherited and strengthened roots of the democracy so that no one could ambush it in future".

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